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Dwight Howard, on whether LeBron or Durant is league’s best: ‘I have to believe in myself as being the best player’

Feb 15, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets Getty Images

Dwight Howard is back to being the player we saw in Orlando before undergoing back surgery in the summer of 2012, but whether or not the league’s fans are all the way back to adoring him the way they did after multiple dunk contest titles remains a bit of a question.

Howard turned fans off with the way he handled his exit from the Magic, along with the way he behaved during a tumultuous season with the Lakers that fell well below the team’s expectations. He’s remained largely controversy-free thus far in Houston, though his latest remarks will undoubtedly be taken the wrong way by some.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“I know I’m going to get a lot (criticism), but I have to believe in myself as being the best player,” Howard said when asked if James or Durant was the NBA’s best player. “That’s how I think everyone in this room feels. They’re not going to say that this person is better than them. We have to believe that. No matter what the stats say, you have to go on the floor with that kind of mentality. ‘I’m the best player on the floor every night.’

Howard isn’t the league’s best player. But his attitude is correct.

Much like when Derrick Rose said he believed he was the best when asked a similar question, the game’s biggest stars have to take that approach every time they take the floor, or risk being bested by an equally strong opponent due to a lack of inner confidence.

Howard’s comments seem silly on the surface, but think about it a bit and it’s easy to see why he’d take that approach.

  1. asimonetti88 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Not even top 5

    • stadix093 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      Yeah, if you’re not the best player on your team, you’re probably not the best player in the league.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        If you factor in defense, Howard has been the best player on the Rockets.

        Harden scores 5 points more per game than Howard, but Harden’s defense has been terrible at times. With Asik refusing to play for much of the season, Howard has had to anchor the paint defensively.

  2. stadix093 - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I disagree.

  3. miamatt - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Say what you will about Howard- he should believe in himself that way.

    Some players have a more “realistic” approach to how they view themselves, but many if not most got to where they got by believing in themselves first and foremost.

    There was nothing disrespectful about what Howard said. Now, whether or not you agree with him -I sure don’t- is another discussion. But you can’t fault Howard for being candid and saying what he did.

    • kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Sure you can….it was foolish.

    • macka4 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:50 AM

      Agree, he isn’t, but not a bad approach. He is highly talented, has a load on his shoulders and seems to be healthy and happy again. Good for him. He has his shortcomings for sure, but is still young and unlike some stars (Kobe?), probably isn’t a bad guy to be around for one thing. D Rose said the same and he needs to get healthy for once, to say the least. Or we may be looking at a small Bill Walton or Grant Hill.

  4. billtetley53 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    It figures that Vanessa Monetti was the 1st to chimme in on this article.

    She’s a Lakers fan and they STILL haven’t stopped crying about Howard signing in Houston
    “Not even top 5″…..last year when he signed with the lakers, you sure thought he was, now, no. Homerism at its finest.

    • kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      billbitely53…maybe last season he was top 5 but what does that have to do with this season? Last year LBJ was the MVP of the league, this season he’s not. Get the point, sir? No LAKER fan is crying over Dwight. The LAKERS are better off without him. He was never going to lead the LAKERS to a title…it is not in his DNA. So why give him a 100 million bucks? There are two centers I would take over Dwight right now…Cousins and the Brow…and by next season it will be 3 with Drummond.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Well kb2408…

        BEFORE Dwight left for the Rockets, MANY Laker fans AND the organization itself was TRYING to keep him, the player you say “was never going to lead the LAKERS to a title…”

        So many Laker fans WANTED him to resign before they found out he chose the Rockets.

        Of course many Laker fans were “crying” over losing Dwight.

        After they found out he was leaving, sites like these were filled up with their hate etc…

        If they KNEW all along he wasn’t good and didn’t want him, they would have been happy he left instead of upset and saying all kinds of things about him.

        WHY say bad things about a player you don’t want? You’re happy to see him go. Many (not all, but MANY) Laker fans were NOT happy right after Dwight left.

  5. kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with having belief in your abilities but at least be honest. He’s not even the best player on his own team.

  6. lastdukestreetking - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    There’s a fine line between healthy confidence and delusion.

    • macka4 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:51 AM

      Lesser players have the same.

  7. clownsfan - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    KD & LBJ both have heart.

  8. pfic15 - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Not even the best center.

    • macka4 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:52 AM

      Well, I must say a Joakim Noah, probably Hibbert too, at least bring it with no excuses.

  9. mp4philly - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    I believe I should be the starting quarterback for the Eagles, but I’m posting on the blog…

  10. jimtron11 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Dwight Howard is not even the best player on his team! All of his numbers are down from his hay-days in Orlando, so to say he’s back to being the player he was in Orlando is not really true, either. And not every All-Star believes he’s the best at his craft. Only the delusional, ego-maniacs, of whom Howard can certainly be included.

    • au1978 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      You’re a fricking idiot b/c his numbers ARE up this year.

  11. billtetley53 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:48 PM


    Look on any Howard story, many of your myopic fellow fans are crying about, or ripping on him.
    One year ago, you heralded him as the best center in the league and how he was going to bring multiple titles to L.A., now they were never going to win a title with him?! You are such a child when it comes to rooting on your team.
    He wasn’t worth $100 million? Your heroes, Jim Buss and Kupchak sure thought he was( you know those guys who you have said over and over that you blindly trust?)

    Any list of top centers that doesn’t include Hibbert is meaningless.
    How do you completely mkae a fool of yoursf and continue to show up on these boards?

    You cry about trolls on lakers stories, yet you are so 100% hypocrtical that you go on Heat stories and troll them.

    You don’t know anything about basketball whatsoever, you’re wrong on your predictions 99% of the time. Worst of all, you’ve admitted that as a 49 year old man, you’re going to cry when Kobe retires, uff.
    Are you and your woman on the same menstrual cycle( I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt on having a gf, I bet. ya she’s deuce, deuce and a half if you do have one.

    • bkbell3 - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:28 AM

      Please stop with hibbert being even close to the best center in the league.smh He averages 12 pts. and 7 rebounds and his numbers haven’t improved much since he has been in the league. He isn’t even the 4th or 5th option on offense and he is way overrated on defense. His claim to fame on defense is being 7’2″ tall. For all this they gave him 60mil. dollars.smh

  12. 1forest1 - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Howard brings as much value to the team as Harden does, his 19 pts a game are just a plus. His true value is his rebounding, and defense(something Harden selectively plays). He’s the best center in the league, so he can say that he’s best, even if it’s not true

    • kb2408 - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      He sure doesn’t look like the best when he faces the other top centers. Cousins outplays him every time they meet.

    • macka4 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:53 AM

      Your points just show how each needs the other. Harden is weak on D, Dwight not the most polished on offensive. One covers for the other, to an extent.

  13. zickhead - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    I believe he’s still a clown.

    • ranfan12 - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      yeah but he’s a clown on a winning team now lol

  14. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    That’s the way every pro athlete needs to feel, as long as they make the effort to make it reality.
    howard hasn’t made that effort. With the emphasis moving away from big guys, he should dominate every game he plays.

  15. ranfan12 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Nothing wrong with having that kind of mentality

  16. 1forest1 - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    A center who hasn’t even had a winning record is NOT the best center in the league. It’s easy to put up stats on a losing team

    • bkbell3 - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:34 AM

      So by that standard Kevin garnett sucked in his time on crappy Minnesota teams and became great cause he won on a loaded up Boston team?smh It’s easier to double and triple team a great player on a bad team and let the crappy players try to beat you. On a good team with many options the defense can’t focus on you as much.

      • drunkenjunk - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        You probably haven’t been watching basketball very long have you? Garnett led the wolves to the playoffs 8 straight years. Yea, they only won a couple series but that was all kg.

      • bkbell3 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        Drunken you either are drunk or reading comprehension is not a strong suit for you. I was responding to a comment that said a center who doesn’t have a winning record can’t be considered the best in the league. My responding point was(this is where the reading skills come in) was using garnett as an example of a guy on a crap team that was one of the best players in the league. Other than the year they has sprewell and a couple of other good players minn. sucked Despite garnett being a great player. Got it? Also I’m 55 years old and played on high school champship teams and played on 2 different college teams so i have watched a lot of basketball as well as having decent reading comp. skills. Peace

  17. abchome - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Delusional “I’m the best” is NOT the right mentality. “I can be the best if I work hard, and I will work hard to be the best” is the right mentality.

  18. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    sportsfan: You won’t get a reply when he’s cornered like he is now.

    He gets on here, spouts his nonsense and disappears.
    I’m sure he has a quite punchable face too.

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